A Rabbi Inspires Many with His Soulful Music
Posted on Jun 21, 2022
Rabbi, Jewish musician, song leader, composer, teacher, charismatic, talented, inspirational, creative, spiritual–all these words describe Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, also known as “the Singing Rabbi.” Rabbi Josh seeks to build intentional praying communities and travels to synagogues, camps, and schools across the country, sharing his music and teachings on prayer.
Music has always been a passion of his. Originally from Deerfield, Illinois, Rabbi Josh loved singing from an early age and was in the fourth- and fifth-grade choir at school. He also picked up guitar at that time. He loves the way music can help better express the emotions of what words try to say, and he wants people to be able to understand the feeling and wisdom of text through a melody they hear. Rabbi Josh believes music is a language that everyone can speak.
Rabbi Josh’s journey into the rabbinate began when he attended Albert A. List College in New York, a joint program between Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and he needed a job while in school. JTS publicized job opportunities in the area, and a synagogue in South Orange, New Jersey, was looking for a music director. Rabbi Josh said, “I play guitar, I went to Jewish summer camp, I can probably do that.” He loved teaching students, engaging people of all ages in prayer, and studying text. He wanted to inspire others by our tradition, so he opted to go to rabbinical school. Earning a bachelor’s degree in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Joint Program, Josh then attended Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles and was ordained in May 2019.
Rabbi Josh considers music as embedded in Midrash, and that within each text we sing aloud are stories, deep secrets, and intricate connections between the Hebrew words and themes. Josh’s melodies are written to express the profound meaning of the words, to expand the wisdom of our tradition, and for us to sing with newfound understanding of the words brought into the world.
While Rabbi Josh attended List College, he lived in Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall and Goldsmith Hall. He often prayed in the Women’s League Seminary Synagogue, and he was able to attend rabbinical school because of Torah Fund scholarships for rabbinical students. He relates that he is therefore indebted to Torah Fund for providing these opportunities.
After a decade in New York, Los Angeles, and Israel, Rabbi Josh now lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, Adina Allen. He has released five albums of Jewish music. If you want to learn more about Rabbi Josh’s work and experience the music he writes to inspire meaning and connection to our tradition and to the Hebrew language, visit his site. Each piece has resources, stories, and chords to allow you to take the melodies back to your own communities and guide you in your own life.
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